How Can I Create a Good Care Plan for a Parent with Parkinson’s?

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The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can range from mild to debilitating, and treatment options can vary widely. Here are some components of the best Parkinson’s care plan for your senior loved one.

Evaluate Swallowing Deficits

One of the most disturbing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is the inability to swallow. This symptom may be very frightening for your loved one. However, when swallowing problems related to neurological deficits are recognized and treated promptly, steps can be taken to lower the risk for aspiration. If your loved one chokes or regurgitates food, talk to his or her physician, who may recommend a swallowing evaluation. Once the doctor reviews the results of the swallowing evaluation, a treatment plan can be implemented to reduce the risk for choking. Treatment may include speech therapy and dietary interventions.

Many seniors in the early stages of Parkinson’s are able to live on their own, but they may need a bit of help with everyday activities, such as exercising and preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable homecare services. Families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

Watch for Hallucinations

Both visual and auditory hallucinations aren’t uncommon in those with Parkinson’s disease. If your loved one believes he or she hears or sees something that isn’t there, the physician may refer him or her to a neurologist. Hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease may be related to high levels of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. Hallucinations are thought to be a psychotic symptom and need to be evaluated as soon as possible.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Flower Mound seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Try Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy programs are vital components of a Parkinson’s care plan. These programs can enhance balance and range of motion, reduce the risk for falls, and may even correct a type of unsteady gait known as cogwheel rigidity. The physical therapist will also work with your loved one to correct a shuffling type of gait so he or she is more likely to pick his or her feet up when walking instead of dragging them. If your loved one is unable to leave the home because of illness or severe mobility issues, the physician and occupational therapist can come to the home. If your loved one gets stronger and more mobile, he or she can then participate in an outpatient therapy program at a rehabilitation clinic. Getting out of the house to go to therapy sessions may also brighten your loved one’s mood and stave off depression, which is common in seniors with Parkinson’s.

Consider Levodopa Medication

Levodopa is one of the most common medications used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. While effective in treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s, it can cause nausea and vomiting. It’s used with carbidopa, which comes in various strengths. While the combination of levodopa and carbidopa is most effective in the management of Parkinson’s disease, many seniors are resistant to taking it because it can cause fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, and vision impairment. If treatment with levodopa and carbidopa is delayed, your loved one may be at risk for coordination and balance issues as well as falls.

Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging, and a compassionate professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Flower Mound elder care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (972) 468-6010 today.